Former Risevest CEO found guilty of sexual misconduct, to join company’s new board of directors

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October 6, 2022
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2 min read
Risevest CEO, Eke Urum

The news

  • Following the conclusion of a six-week-long investigation, a panel has found former Risevest CEO, Eke Urum guilty of sexual misconduct and abuse of power.
  • Urum had been asked to step aside in August 2022 after allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced while the startup’s Head of Operations took over as CEO.
  • Urum will now join a newly constituted board of directors comprising Odiba, one independent member approved by both founder and investor groups, and two investor representatives.

Six weeks after stepping aside from his role as CEO, Risevest's founder, Eke Urum, has been found guilty of sexual misconduct and abuse of power. 

In August, we reported that Urum had been asked to step down by the startup’s investors after allegations of sexual misconduct and abuse of power had been made against him. An independent panel was then constituted to investigate the allegations. 

As reported by TechCabal, the panel found no evidence of sexual assault but ruled that there was a pattern of abuse of power, workplace bullying, and intimidation by Urum.

A statement from the panel reads in part: 

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“The evidence presented to the panel could not prove sexual assault by Eke Urum. However, the evidence presented to the panel, including admitted sexual relations with an employee and unwanted, inappropriate jokes and conversations, revealed sexual impropriety. It also showed a pattern of abuse of power, intimidation, retaliation and workplace bullying by him.”

However, in a tweet on Thursday, Urum stated that while the investigation panel did not find the allegation of sexual impropriety true, they found it credible.

“The case of sexual impropriety they found credible was a joke that was not even sexual in its context but which someone with enough motivation could interpret that way. Because the sexual impropriety matter was based on entirely subjective perspective and out of respect for the recipient and, indeed, to ensure corporate sanity, I immediately took responsibility for it. I want to reiterate that I never had any sexual relations with an employee, and I did not sexually assault or harass anyone.”

Following the conclusion of the investigations, the panel recommended that Urum not be reinstated as CEO while Tony Odiba, who has been acting as the startup’s CEO, will remain in his role pending the appointment of a new CEO. 

Additionally, the panel recommended that a board of directors be constituted comprising Urum, Odiba, one independent member approved by both founder and investor groups, and two investor representatives.

Although Urum will not return to his previous CEO role, he remains in the startup as a non-executive director and has pledged his support to Odiba. He also expressed regret over his actions.

“As a leader, I have grown a lot over the years and still have a lot of growing to do, which is why I’m going to be taking additional coaching and executive training. I regret the distraction that my actions may have caused and fully respect the integrity of the process the Risevest investors and the panel underwent to identify the gaps in our systems and my leadership,” he said in a response to TechCabal.

Accidental writer, covering Africa's startup landscape and its heroes. Find me on Twitter @chigo_nwokoma.
Accidental writer, covering Africa's startup landscape and its heroes. Find me on Twitter @chigo_nwokoma.
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Accidental writer, covering Africa's startup landscape and its heroes. Find me on Twitter @chigo_nwokoma.

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